最近读的书

《长日将尽》

大概是三个月前开始的,断断续续地看完了石黑一雄的《长日将尽》。书是以一个大管家的视角来写的,大管家以滴水不漏的口吻在回忆。前半本书很平淡,或者说是很琐碎,每次打开看几页就关上了。可是看完的时候心情很复杂。这种视角的叙事很有趣,起初不知什么原因,很难说有任何的代入感。但是到了最后却很能够感受到“我”内心的复杂情绪。故事本身只有六天的时间,大多数的内容是在回忆中叙述的。回忆充满了真实的细节,同时有一种有意无意的遮遮掩掩。我想这样的感受每个人或多或少都会有吧。我看的是冯涛翻译的版本,他在后记中写到“为无可慰藉之人提供慰藉”。我很喜欢这句总结。六天下来管家的生活不会有什么改变,但是他或多或少应该是有所慰藉。读者随着他视角感受到情绪,推己及人,也难免感叹。悟以往,知来者之可追的心态太过阳光,对于大多数人来说,太阳照常升起才是常态吧。

《杀死一只知更鸟》

这本书很有名,到了一种我没有看过,却不确定是不是真的没有看过的程度。最近在听某一本书的时候,讲书的人提到这本书,于是便想看一下。故事是以那个家庭里小女儿的视角来叙述的,她有一个大她几岁的哥哥。书很好读,即使是译本。书里父亲的形象非常正面,女儿总的来说可爱懂事,儿子成长之后颇有担当。书里最后父亲说: “… 大多数人都是善良的,等你最终了解他们之后就会发现”。真是一个很暖心的故事。

《你像鸟飞往你的山》

这本书英文名叫 Educated,算是作者的自传吧。作者其实很年轻,86年生人,写的是作者非同一般的成长经历。父亲是偏执的魔门教教徒,恐怕都不能算是原教旨主义了,已经偏执到疯狂的程度。他不让所有的孩子去学校,在家里囤积粮食、弹药、汽油、等等。不相信医生,就算是自己或者孩子大面积烧伤、头被打破了、手脚断了都坚持在家治疗。很难想象在这样的家庭的生活。可是作者居然考上了大学还拿到了博士学位,(基本上)走出了那个家庭对她造成的影响。
读这本书的时候感受很特别,意外的觉得可以和之前的《长日将尽》有所联系。《长日将尽》是小说,以第一人称写的小说,管家作为叙述者,对于之前的经历不自觉的有所选择的回忆和描述,在关键的地方闪烁其词。在他的描述之下若因若现的另一条线似乎更贴近事实。这本书是作者亲身尽力,是真实的第一人称叙述。但是也能读到她言语间的犹豫和彷徨。她想要逃离的意愿不是那么坚决,甚至于不时想要回归那个家庭以换取内心的挣扎。回忆过去事情的时候不确定是不是自己无意识的想象。这些让人读的时候很容易感同身受。这完全不是一个励志故事,尤其是读到作者精神崩溃每天晚上赤脚在街上狂奔大叫的时候。她能走出来,有太多的原因。

Setup NextCloud with Docker

之前配置过一次 NextCloud,本地操作搭mysql和nginx既麻烦又不好维护。后来docker用得多一些了之后,觉得这种部署应该是由docker来支持的,找了一下确实有现成的解决方案,记录一下在这里。

简单说一下,NextCloud是本地云平台,通俗的说就是可以在自家的机器上配一套某度网盘 🙂
然后家里每个人的手机、平板、笔记本都可以访问。我们家的需求主要是共享和备份照片,共享大批量的陈年老照片,备份最近手机上拍的照片。

先clone一下这个repo:

git clone https://github.com/christophetd/nextcloud-docker-compose

按照需要,编辑docker-compose.yml 把自动备份相关的注释掉,就是 backups 下面的部分都可以删掉

编辑.env

 vim .env 

修改DATA_DIR指向自家云的存储位置,HOST到机器的IP (比如 192.168.0.123)

然后

docker-compose up -d

应该就可以了
如果没有 docker-compose 需要先安装:

 
sudo curl -L "https://github.com/docker/compose/releases/download/1.24.1/docker-compose-$(uname -s)-$(uname -m)" -o /usr/local/bin/docker-compose 
sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/docker-compose
sudo ln -s /usr/local/bin/docker-compose /usr/bin/docker-compose 

然后打开浏览器访问 http://192.168.0.123 就设置帐号密码就可以用了。

看起来和某度网盘差不多。

可以尝试传一个文件上去,系统就会创建用户的文件夹了。具体的数据位置在 ${DATA_DIR}/data/${USERNAME}/files/ 下面。

到此基本上就可以用了,但是实际上大家都会面临的问题是怎么样把之前的数据迁移进去云里面。NextCloud的iOS/Andriod App都有很好的支持手机上传的支持,但是PC上总不能网页上一张一张照片的传。实际上是有工具可以做这个事情的。

我们可以把之前的数据,本地复制到NextCloud放数据的目录下,然后用NextCloud提供的命令行工具自动扫描更新到MySQL就好了。

 sudo rsync -zvrP /path/to/old/data ${DATA_DIR}/data/${USERNAME}/files/ 

之后要进到运行的docker container里面做操作:

 sudo docker ps 

列出来在跑的containers,找到 nextcloud 对应的 container ID,然后

 sudo docker exec -ti ${CONTAINER_ID} bash 

就到了container的环境里。

接下来要先安装sudo

 apt-get update && apt-get install -y sudo 

修正文件权限

 sudo chown -R www-data:www-data data/${USERNAME}/files/ 

重新扫描

 sudo -u www-data php occ files:scan --all 

文件多的话会比较慢,但是等着就好了。

用起来还是挺方便的,维护和部署也没有什么特别的操作。用Docker还是方便,希望Docker公司自己可以找到盈利点别挂了。

How to contact USCIS and what to expect

For any foreigner in the US, when it comes to immigration related issues, there are always a lot of stories to tell. My recent story is about renewing my EAD (work authorization in the US) card.

After I sent out my renewal application, I have tried multiple methods to contact USCIS and would like share the experience here. My case is a little special that what I need to get legitimate work authorization again is simply the receipt notice from USCIS that my application is accepted to be processed. Usually it only takes 2 weeks for one to receive this letter in mail. Sometimes it doubles.

The application was sent to Lockbox and the official in-take process can be found here. The official website has listed a number of tools to submit all kinds of requests. But before having the receipt letter with a receipt number, most of them are not applicable.

  1. First thing you can try is to email the local Lockbox office at lockboxsupport@uscis.dhs.gov. It takes a few days (e.g. 17 days in my case) to get the reply. But the local office should have the first-hand information about the thing I’ve submit. If they couldn’t find your application at all, I would assume the application is lost. In the end, I firstly get my receipt number from the kind officer through this email address.
  2. Second thing you can try is to call USCIS contact center. Trying to schedule an info-pass or appointment through the answering system could eventually lead you to live representative. The waiting time is usually around 30~60mins in my prior trials. When the representative couldn’t answer my question, I learned that I can ask to escalate the case to a tier-2 representative or officer. It is always better to make the phone call in the morning since the tier-2 representatives/officers do not take calls in the late afternoon. I found the officers are usually efficient and processional with access to more information.  In my case,  when other representatives could not tell me whether or not my receipt letter has been mailed to me, the officer told me that it was mailed out with an accurate mailed-out date.
  3. The last thing I tried is to contact my senator for help. Their contact can always be easily found and their application process is clearly described on their webpages. I provided the nice senator everything I have regarding the case. They actively asked for the things they need. I am not clear how they would contact USCIS. In the end, I didn’t hear back updates regarding my case.

It is always unpredictable when the Immigration documents would get processed and it is a bitter ordeal to one’s patience. Hope these help in relieving your anxiety.